Things My Father Taught Me

On bed: if your feet are cold, peddle them like you’re riding a bicycle, and they’ll warm up; you should also always have the sheets tucked up to your neck to keep you warm.

On life: the best way to avoid doing laundry is to offer willingly to do it once, and really screw it up badly. Mix reds and whites, silks and denims, put wool on hot in the dryer and shrink everything. You’ll never be allowed to do it again.

On love: shower often and keep your room and house tidy because no man will want a messy woman. (I’ve ignored this one, clearly).

On luck: never bet on a horse whose tail is up, because that means it needs to go to the bathroom, and it won’t run well. Always read your racing form closely, and look for a good bloodline.

On health: there’s nothing wrong with a diet consisting totally of potatoes, chicken, shredded carrots, sausage rolls, tea and vanilla ice cream. Water is for horses and green vegetables are disgusting. Rain and cold weather make you sick, but there’s no such thing as germs. (I ignore this one, too).

On authority: daydreaming in class will likely get you hit with a large stick across your hands or beaten over the head with a prosthetic metal fist. If you have a teacher who does this to you, make sure he also does it to a friend of yours whose angry father will come down to the school and beat the crap out of the teacher.

On driving: there is no such thing as a blind spot. Never ride in the sidecar on a motorcycle, especially if the sidecar is made of wood or you will likely get a bottom full of splinters.

On morality: stealing fruit from the orchard of a monastery is wrong, but sometimes necessary if you’re young and foolish and hungry, and are being egged on by your older, irresponsible travel buddies. Sneaking out of an army hospital during recovery to go partying while your leg is still in a cast is unadvisable. Selling your uniform to gain passage to a new land might be against the law, but sometimes you just really need to start fresh.

On working: avoid coalmines. Avoid working with unscrupulous car parts salesmen. Avoid managing your own company and overstressing to the point that your heart gives out.

On play: golf, horse racing and boxing = good. Everything else = boring and not worth your time. When buying golf clubs, don’t be afraid to spend that extra $100 on titanium. Feel free to order the magazines just to look at the pretty pictures, as well.

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